Clothes Make the (Wo)Man by Devon Balwit

“It was a hat for the great and lonely” —Hein Donner

Where is my page to arm me for the day,
fastening greaves and hauberk? Where
my factotum? Must I do everything myself?

I lean towards the mirror, draw on a mustache,
powder my sideburns to be taken seriously.
A wig adds gravitas. I oil both smirk and frown.

One never knows what face will be called for.
There was a time when I had only one, when
I stood in my nakedness before hoodlums.

I learned, swallowing teeth and coppery blood,
smearing snot and tears on coat sleeves.
Now, I dress as though I’ve already won.

No one dares tell me otherwise. And if
they snicker behind my back, no matter.
My suit is thick, my shoulders well-padded.



Devon Balwit teaches in Portland, OR. She has six chapbooks and two collections out or forthcoming: How the Blessed Travel (Maverick Duck Press); Forms Most Marvelous (dancing girl press); In Front of the Elements (Grey Borders Books), Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders Books); The Bow Must Bear the Brunt (Red Flag Poetry); We are Procession, Seismograph (Nixes Mate Books), Risk Being/ Complicated (with the Canadian artist Lorette C. Luzajic), and Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books). Her individual poems can be found or are upcoming in Cordite, The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Fifth Wednesday, The Ekphrastic Review, Red Earth Review, The Fourth River, The Free State Review, Rattle, Posit, and more.

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